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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
An old favorite from childhood


Aug 16 2013, 4:52pm

Views: 114
An old favorite from childhood [In reply to] Can't Post

I was raised on 'The Hobbit' by my mother, who read it to me and my brothers in the early 1960s. She had an original edition from when she was a little girl in the late 1930s. I remember especially the painting of Smaug, which entranced me so much that I would go find the book on its shelf and open it to the illustration, so I could look at it again and again. From my point of view, when we got a little older and she followed up with 'The Lord of the Rings', I was very upset to learn that Bilbo would not be the hero of the new book - although I got over it eventually.

So to me Gollum was the creepy but ultimately honest creature from 1937 - until the 1990s, when I got a new copy of 'The Hobbit' to read to my own children. Although I knew from reading 'LotR' that Gollum would reappear in that book as a far more dangerous anti-hero, I was still shocked to actually read, "Thief! Thief! Baggins, we hates it forever!" as Bilbo daringly leapt over his murderous antagonist in the new edition. Somewhat to my surprise, I found I remembered distinctly that Gollum at that point had politely begged off from showing Bilbo the exit, once they got too close to the light of the goblins' door. The old noser was last seen slinking back down the tunnel while Bilbo advanced to his next adventure.

I still think of Gollum in 'The Hobbit' as "Old Gollum", not at all a hobbit, and rather funny in a child-creepy way. Does it cause a conflict in my appreciation of 'The Lord of the Rings'? No. Possibly this is due to how I was first exposed to the books: in the original order, and at an advancing age in late childhood, as Tolkien had first intended his audience to read the two works. I don't think of them as directly linked and part of one great story, even though the beginning of 'LotR' and the revised 'Hobbit' invites me to. To me they will always be somewhat separate and individual books, to be appreciated in different ways and for different reasons.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Subject User Time
"The Hobbit" 1937 edition KasDel Send a private message to KasDel Aug 16 2013, 1:37am
    Can't be sure... arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Aug 16 2013, 2:24am
    Are there any differences apart from Riddles in the Dark? Seaber Send a private message to Seaber Aug 16 2013, 7:15am
        Ch-ch-cha-changes... Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Aug 16 2013, 1:14pm
    My first read... Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Aug 16 2013, 1:34pm
    An old favorite from childhood squire Send a private message to squire Aug 16 2013, 4:52pm


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